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Zac Dalpe to Fight Through Disappointment

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Dalpe to Fight Through Disappointment - Paul Branecky/Checkers.com

Following his game in Philadelphia Saturday night, Hurricanes forward Zac Dalpe arrived at his family’s home in Paris, Ontario, around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday. With Carolina set to take on the Maple Leafs just down the road in Toronto, the next day was going to be the first time that members of his extended family would get to see him play an NHL game in person.

As is turned out, those family members will have to wait a little longer.

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Dalpe did head to Toronto as planned, but it wasn’t to the Air Canada Center. Soon after waking up that morning, the 23-year-old forward received the always-dreaded phone call - after playing six games to start the NHL season, he was to go straight to the airport to catch a flight back to Charlotte.

“My mom was upset about it,” said Dalpe after Tuesday’s Checkers practice. “It’s the side of the game that the fans don’t see.”

That’s one of the reasons Sunday’s transaction was among the toughest for Dalpe, who estimates that he’s been involved in 19 recalls to or reassignments from the NHL over the course of his three professional seasons.

“It gets a little bit easier, but you’re usually not at home with 10 tickets out for people to come and watch you play,” he said.

Though he’s learned to temper his surprise upon getting the bad news, the first instance of the season is always the toughest, even without the particularly excruciating timing of his latest reassignment.

“I still want to be a full-time NHL player,” said Dalpe, who has started each of the last three seasons with Carolina. “I thought this was the year, but obviously there are things that need to be worked on.”

Among those?

“Just consistency at the NHL level, even though that’s obviously a hard thing to work on in the AHL,” said Dalpe, whose two points, both assists, came in the same game against Buffalo on Jan. 24. “I break my games down period by period, and I thought I played 15 good periods out of 18 (in the NHL), but that’s not enough.”

Disappointment aside, Dalpe returned to Charlotte, where he started the season by scoring 28 points (13g, 15a) in 38 games, with no hard feelings. Given the way he responded to the Hurricanes not putting him on their initial list of training invites on Jan. 12 (he scored three points in his next two games to earn a belated tryout), that should come as no surprise.

“I’m not going to pout,” he said.

“His attitude has been great,” said Checkers coach Jeff Daniels, who had Dalpe on a line with Riley Nash and David Rutherford on Tuesday until an injury cut Rutherford’s practice short. “He brings a lot of energy to our practices and skates hard. He’s got a lot of confidence right now.”

Though the team will miss the grit provided by Tim Wallace, who left Charlotte on Sunday to make his Hurricanes debut in Dalpe’s stead, the Checkers should get an immediate offensive boost. Dalpe returns with an active five-point streak (5g, 4a) that ran from Jan. 4-13 and marked his most productive stretch of the season.

If he can keep that up, it won’t be long until he gets another shot with the Hurricanes. Who knows - after the ups and downs of the last few seasons, some more extreme than others, it’s always possible that the next one might be permanent.

“It’s everyone’s goal to be a full-time player,” said Daniels. “He understands it’s a process, and he’s close.”

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It's too bad that the organization is not liking him at center because we have a spot there. If he could slide up to third line center, even to the 4th line for a while (and slide Brent up temporarily), we could unleash the Juice to the top 6. Love his point about how he needs to develope NHL conistency and that is hard to do in the AHL. At this point he needs NHL time. Bring him back up.

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That was a nice read. I agree with Daniels “It’s everyone’s goal to be a full-time player,” said Daniels. “He understands it’s a process, and he’s close.” He is one Chex I'm sure will get another crack at it. We don't appear to be a team that is big for on the job training this year. Although difficult to learn the NHL level of play at the AHL level I think he knows what it will take. I expect we will see him again.

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Our AHL guys continue to add nothing at the NHL level year after year and its quite dissapointing. I thought maybe this was the year for Boychuk,Dalpe,Bowman,Samson, or somebody to break out and score some goals here, but we continue to get no point production out of any of them. I think Dwyer was the last AHL guy to earn a permanent spot here and he's barely a 3rd or 4th line NHL player.

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Our AHL guys continue to add nothing at the NHL level year after year and its quite dissapointing. I thought maybe this was the year for Boychuk,Dalpe,Bowman,Samson, or somebody to break out and score some goals here, but we continue to get no point production out of any of them. I think Dwyer was the last AHL guy to earn a permanent spot here and he's barely a 3rd or 4th line NHL player.

I think Bowman is NHL ready. He has been playing 3rd line with defensive first responsibility. The hope is that line can add some counter punch and score some goals as well. I like Bowman's play and I think he is capable of adding some scoring. I think the 3rd line is a problem for us but I don't think Bowman is the problem.

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Most superstars show their stuff immediately, but there are a good number of very good NHL scorers who needed a bunch of NHL games to find their scoring touch. Plus these guys are almost always asked at first to be defensively responsible at all costs just to make the team. Making that scoring transition often requires a good number of NHL games. See Brandon Sutter and LaRose as Hurricane examples. Play Dalpe, Play Bowman. At least unless we go get a real third line center. Might as well.

Edited by remkin

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All of this reminds me of Keith Aucoin. Tough, gritty, willing to do whatever the coaches ask of him. Probably has more frequent flier miles than most due to his constant shuttling between AHL and NHL clubs. Not all guys who have the ability to play at the top tier are able to really make it at the top tier. Always liked his attitude and he's doing ok for himself with the Isles this year. (good article about him @ yahoo sports) I like the effort our lower echelon guys are giving thus far, if not putting pucks in the net, at least wearing down the other team to allow our star players the rest needed to get out there and do it for us. Just a thought.

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Our AHL guys continue to add nothing at the NHL level year after year and its quite dissapointing. I thought maybe this was the year for Boychuk,Dalpe,Bowman,Samson, or somebody to break out and score some goals here, but we continue to get no point production out of any of them. I think Dwyer was the last AHL guy to earn a permanent spot here and he's barely a 3rd or 4th line NHL player.

I know, its been very disheartening watching these 4 guys not being able to produce at the NHL level. We have no legitimate depth.

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